Impressive result for young Dons
AFC Wimbledon Academy Head of Coaching Mark Robinson deservedly praised his under-18s side as they delivered a performance against Leyton Orient on Saturday that he felt they always had within them this season.
After a run of disappointing results, the young Dons made no mistakes in front of goal on this occasion and registered an emphatic 4-1 victory over their higher-placed visitors in the Youth Alliance League, with striker Dan Agyei notching a hat-trick to take his total to 14 so far this campaign.
It was a performance made all the more impressive as under-16s Reece Bowers, James Parker and Judah Chapman stepped up to make the grade and the game also marked the return to action for exciting prospect Egli Kaja.
“We played some excellent football today but the main difference was that we took a higher percentage of our chances,” said Robinson. “Many times this season we have been the dominant side and taken the lead but we have then not put the game to bed by taking very good chances. That was the main difference today.”
“I was very pleased how all the younger lads played. They really grabbed the opportunity to impress and the few second year scholars that did play did what I expect them to do. They become real leaders in both their performance and communication,” he added.
The Dons got off to a very bright start,passing the ball with good intent. Neset Bellikli put in two great crosses early on that the Dons failed to get on the end of. Then Reece Batchelor did the same from the right hand side but once again the Dons failed to capitalise.
On 12 minutes the Dons took a thoroughly deserved lead when the impressive Bellikli once again wreaked havoc on the left before hitting another dangerous cross that could only be parried by the Orient keeper. The ball fell to Agyei who finished coolly from 8 yards.
The Dons were now in full flow and playing some excellent football. Billy Frost, who took the captaincy for the morning, dictated play from midfield while Alfie Egan, Jason Stripp and 15 year old Bowers rotated around him.
On 36 minutes the second goal arrived. After good possession at the back, Ian Smith found Egan’s run; he flicked the ball on for Agyei who rolled his man and then outpaced the O’s defence before slotting home inside the near post.
Orient had their best spell of possession towards the end of the half, but with the excellent Taylor Roles marshalling his defence and Billy Bishop showing his usual confidence in goal, the Dons looked resilient.
Wimbledon started the second half brightly and once again started to dominate possession. It did not take long for the third goal to come when Frost played in between the O’s defence for Bellikli who took a touch and then drilled another excellent cross for Dan Ano, who made a clever run across his defender and slotted home expertly.
minute. After not dealing with a corner, Frost then seemed to win the ball only for the referee to point to the spot. The resulting penalty was taken coolly, leaving Bishop no chance. ndA rare O’s attack resulted in a penalty in the 72Egli Kaja, who had been out injured for 5 weeks, made his return just after the hour mark. He replaced Ano who had enjoyed his best under-18 performance of the season. On 67 minutes, Parker replaced his under-16 team mate Bowers, who had been outstanding in his first start for the under-18s.
This would be a test for the Dons as on four occasions this season they had been in front and dominating gamesonly to either draw or lose. It was clear the,were in no mood to do the same again and they once again dominated possessiony n 77 minutes Kaja drove with the ball and played a lovely weighted pass through the O’s defence for run of Agyei who opened up his body and passed the ball into the bottom left hand corner for his hat-trick.. O
minute, as the Dons continued to dominate play and were denied a fifth when Egan was adjudged to have committed a foul just before Agyei smashed home. thChapman replaced Stripp in the 79
After the game Mark Robinson said “It has been an excellent week for the Academy. Another three second year scholars have stepped up to full time training with the U21s which means today I have had the chance to play more of the younger players from the startincluding three under-16’s. Reece Bowers looked more than comfortable making his first start but all three boys did well and did not look out of place at all.”,
“We were once again brave in our football and some of the things we do. As I maintain, it is important to develop players to be confident in pressure situations and take responsibility all over the pitch. This may mean we sacrifice results at times because the braver you are the more mistakes you are likely to make, but it is a sacrifice worth making to raise the standard of player we are bringing through in terms of technique, decision making and playing under pressure,” added the Dons boss.
Man of the match - Taylor Roles.